Ontario announces northern road upgrades

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The Ontario government has opened a widened section of Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 69) and pledged funding to create year-round access roads in the province’s far north.

Highway 69 provides access from Southern Ontario’s industrial heartland to the northern part of the province and Western Canada.

A 14-kilometre expansion in the French River area was opened for traffic on December 23. The newly widened highway from two to four lanes will help improve traffic flow and safety. The new lanes on Highway 69 extend from north of Highway 522 to north of Highway 607. The expansion also includes two new interchanges.

This 14-kilometre section of Highway 69 widening is part of a project to widen a total of 152 kilometres of Highway 69 from Parry Sound to Sudbury. The final 68-kilometre section of widening between French River and Parry Sound is in the engineering and property acquisition phase.

“The opening of the new Highway 69 lanes is a gamechanger for French River and Sudbury residents,” said Greg Rickford, minister of northern development, mines, natural resources and forestry.

“By expanding this section of Highway 69, we will see improved safety and traffic flow in the region. The expansion will also create jobs and boost economic growth in Northern Ontario.”

Access to Moosonee

Ontario also announced it will spend $6 million to help 31 remote First Nation communities and the Town of Moosonee build and maintain 3,170 kilometres of temporary snow and ice roads for the 2021-22 winter season. The funding will also be used to support special projects, including bridge improvements, maintenance of crossings and other repairs.

This multi-year funding helps provide seasonal connections to all-season roads in remote and Far North communities to  make it easier for remote communities to bring in essential goods and services, such as food, medical and construction supplies.

The winter roads network serves over 21,000 Ontarians and provides more affordable transportation options for northern job creators and employers, including the mining industry — a key contributor to the northern economy. Weather permitting, the winter roads network is open from approximately mid-January until the spring thaw.